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Serov's painting “Portrait of Alexander III” was painted in 1899. Currently, the work is stored in the officer fund of the Royal Life Guards in Copenhagen. The emperor is depicted in an elegant uniform and a solemn pose near one of the main stairs of the Fredensborg Palace (Denmark).
The artist painted this portrait while in Copenhagen, where he paid visits more than once. The palace was written from nature, but, unfortunately, Alexander III himself did not pose for him, but a simple sergeant.
Golden epaulettes and honorary orders shine on the bright red canvas of the uniform, the face is full of joy and pride, the pose is confident and majestic. Serov was a brilliant portrait painter (for good reason, by the beginning of the twentieth century he was recognized as the first portrait painter of the Russian Empire): he painted Alexander from memory when he had already passed away.
The background of the picture is of great importance, plays an important role in emphasizing the figure in the foreground: the repeating elements of the windows and steps of the stairs create a rhythm, creating a sense of dynamics and solemnity, architecture and a high-ranking person harmonize perfectly within the framework of the picture.
Many people know that the artist treated Alexander III with special trepidation, and the emperor helped him a lot in his life, including the publication of a two-volume article by his father. During his life, Serov painted many portraits of the royal family, in which the characters were felt, and not just the appearance was copied. Moreover, Serov did not demand so much money for his work, because he did not want to feel himself in captivity, to lose the freedom of creativity.
Once there was such a case with the painting “Portrait of Alexander III”: Princess Yusupova praised this portrait, called it the best, and the modest artist noted that it was not at all that he was the best. The fact is that other portraits were very bad.
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